Prof. William West

Professor of Counselling and Spirituality

William is a visiting Professor in Counselling and Spirituality. He is a Fellow and accredited practitioner member of BACP and past chair of the Culture and Psychotherapy Section of the Society for Psychotherapy Research (International). His key areas of research, teaching and publication include: counselling and spirituality, culture, traditional healing, supervision and qualitative research methods. His most recent book was 'Exploring therapy spirituality and Healing', which showcased his PhD

Full Profile

William is probably most noted for his interest in counselling and spirituality and for his work with Masters, doctorate and PhD students. He has written: two authored books – Psychotherapy and Spirituality (Sage 2000), Spiritual Issues in Therapy (Palgrave 2004), one co-authored book Understanding Research in Counselling and Psychotherapy, (Sage 2013), one edited book Exploring Counselling, Spirituality and Healing (Palgrave 2011) and one co-edited book with Roy Moodley, Integrating Traditional Healing Practices into Counselling and Psychotherapy (Sage 2005); 29 peer reviewed papers, 17 book chapters, 31 papers in professional journals.

He has a passion for postmodern qualitative research that (often) casts light on the human condition and consequently has value for practitioners. William feels that much of good therapy remains a mystery encompassed by the therapeutic relationship and reckon that the best research gets closest to human experience. However, his life has been saved on two occasions by the NHS using penicillin and surgery. This gives him great respect for quantitative methods and what they can deliver.

He has used qualitative research methods for the last 20 years in a number of research studies into bodywork therapy, therapy and healing, therapist’s religious faith, key moments in supervision, pastoral care in counselling and religion, in which he has variously used grounded theory, thematic analysis and heuristics. William now takes a pragmatic view of research methods choice, focussing on what gets the job done efficiency and hopefully elegantly and he has a keen interest in how to effectively disseminate research findings.

PhD. Integrating psychotherapy and healing, University of Keele 1996
MA in Counselling Studies, University of Keele 1992
BSc Honours Computer Science, University of Manchester 1971



Hanley, T., Lennie, C., and West, W., (2013) (At press) Understanding research in Counselling and Psychotherapy, published by Sage.

West, W., (Ed) (2011) Exploring Therapy, Spirituality and Healing, 252 pages, Palgrave Macmillian.

Moodley, R., and West, W. S., (Eds) (2005) Integrating traditional healing practices into counselling and psychotherapy, 348 pages, published by Sage North America.

West, W., (2004) Spiritual Issues in Therapy, Relating Experience to Practice, 160 pages, published by Palgrave MacMillan.

Read More


William's research interests lie in the following areas:

The role of spirituality in counselling, psychotherapy, and pastoral care.
The training, supervision and professional development of therapists.
Culture, human lives and therapy.
Research methodologies that are congruent with therapeutic practice.


Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Registered Practitioner Member and Fellow of BACP

Member of Society for Psychotherapy Research

Teaching Activities and Responsibilities

Guest/Specialist Lectures

PhD Supervision